Friday, August 12, 2016

Peak Tram - Hong Kong

The Peak Tramway is a  funicular railway that goes to the top of Victoria Peak on Hong Kong island. I was lucky enough to ride it once in the early 1990's while there on a business trip. I was reminded of it by Chickenmom's post about the cog railway on Mt. Washington in New Hampshire. 

The Peak Tram was opened for public service on 28 May 1888 by the then governor Sir George William des Voeux.[4] As built, the line used a static steam engine to power the haulage cable. In 1926, the steam engine was replaced by an electric motor. It has a maximum grade of 48% and is .87 miles long.

On 11 December 1941, during the Battle of Hong Kong, the engine room was damaged in an attack. Service was not resumed until 25 December 1945, after the end of the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong.
More information here
A funicular, also known as an inclined plane or cliff railway, is a cable railway in which a cable attached to a pair of tram-like vehicles on rails moves them up and down a steep slope, the ascending and descending vehicles counterbalancing each other. Funiculars of one sort or another have existed for hundreds of years and continue to be used for moving both passengers and goods. Its name derives from the latin, funiculus, diminutive of funis, meaning "rope". More information, history and pictures of numerous examples of funiculars can be found here

The only old video I could find didn't show the steam power but is pretty cool anyway. 

Here is a YouTube video by Luis Costa from December 2010 that includes the tram ride and spectacular views and a tour of Victoria Peak. (almost 15 minutes)

 From Luis' descripition:
 "Hong Kong skyline is nothing short of amazing, and it's best admired at Victoria Peak.
The city has more buildings above 100m and 150m than any other city in the world.
Hong Kong also holds the title for the world's biggest skyline with a total of 7,681 skyscrapers, placing it ahead of New York City, even though New York is larger in area."

The population of Hong Kong in mid 2015 was 7.3 million in an area of 427 sq. miles. (includes Hong Kong island, the Kowloon Peninsula and the New Territories. See the Wikipedia entry for more information.


  1. That was amazing! Never realized Hong Kong was such a beautiful modern city! That tram ride was good - it was really traveling pretty fast! Great post, Terry! :o)

  2. As with all big cities it has some older areas. I am sure it has changed a lot since I was there.
    And for a real good time, watch this video
    It is the "checkerboard approach" at the old Kai Tak Hong Kong airport. You fly at a big hill with a checkerboard on it (you can see it in the video), then you make a hard right turn and fly real close over the apartment buildings to the runway. The far end is water. I swear I thought they were flying between the apartment buildings when I went there. They have since built a new airport on a man make island. If you get a minute, watch the crosswind landing video there also.

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks, Lisa. Have you ever been there?

    2. No, I have lived in Yokohama, Japan...and been on the Bullet Train many times...but it is not old...well it wasn't then..certainly not by these standards. More industrial and tech I suppose.